Another new knife we saw fromm Gerber at this year's SHOT Show is the Prodigy Tanto. Added to the Prodigy family this knife came to me for test and evaluation and I accepted it readily. Although I appreciate the need for blade length in a combat blade, when it comes to general field utility I'm of the opinion that a mid-length blade is more than sufficient - and is preferable. When you make that mid-length blade Tanto-style, add in some serrated edge section and make a grip that is very secure, you end up with the Gerber Prodigy Tanto.
According to the published information I received, the Prodigy Tanto measures 9.5" in length overall. With the blade length specified at 4.8", that leaves a handle length of 4.5". Truth be told, the handle and grips on this knife fit my hands perfectly... but I have medium sized hands and the handle may be a bit short for those with larger paws. The full-tang design assures strength and the blade thickness of 3/16" (to within 3/4" of the blade tip) adds to the durability of this knife. All of that adds up to its ability to take the abuse I intended to throw at it - and that users will put it through in the field.
The Tanto style blade has an ever-so-slight drop tip design to it. In profile it makes the blade look a bit sharkish but doesn't serve any practical purpose I can identify. There is a full, if slightly abbreviated, hilt that leads into a well-shaped handle / grip. The material used to wrap the grip is called "FG504 TacHide". It feels like a durable rubber and is dyed to match one of the shades of green in the digital camo sheath. Press or "index" ridges are molded into the handle on the spine at the hilt and pommel and on the front just where your pinky would sit. The pommel itself is shaped to wrap slightly just behind your pinky helping the knife feel even more secure in your hand.
While I'm a fan of a knife pommel that I can hammer with - particularly in a field knife - the Prodigy Tanto has a window-breaking / skull-crushing tip on the pommel instead. Integrated into the pommel tip is a lanyard hole should you wish to exercise that option.
The sheath provided with the knife is composed of a hard plastic insert inside a digital camouflage nylon cover. The back of the sheath has the necessary webbing and strap built in to make it easily mounted on any MOLLE system. The sheath itself has three security features designed in and I commend Gerber on the design.
The first security feature is the molded shape of the plastic insert at the mouth where you insert the knife blade. You can insert the knife with the edge facing either way (great for left or right handed, tip up or tip down mounting). On both sides of the sheath's mouth are stiff plastic hooks which grab either end of the hilt when the knife is pushed all the way in. Without the snap strap in place I was unable to get the knife to fly out of the sheath with only those plastic "friction" hooks holding it in.
The second security feature is the snap strap. This is the first one I’ve ever seen that is slightly elastic. Most leather or nylon snap straps eventually wear and stretch and no longer hold the knife's handle snug and secure against the back panel of the sheath. Not so with this one: the elasticized strap is snug - and unless it's improperly cared for it should maintain that snug secure capability. Only time will tell.
The third security feature is an elastic wrap-over at the top of the knife sheath. With a small tab to grab and pull, this elastic hood wraps over and around then pommel of the knife. A ready benefit that I can think of is this: picture the knife mounted on your web gear / equipment vest, tip down. If you were low-crawling through a given area you'd run the risk of something getting caught in between the knife handle and the sheath's back panel. With the elastic hood pulled up and over there's no space available between the knife's handle and the sheath's back panel.